An American newspaper editor exposes the militarists plans for Japanese conquests and works with a woman from China to get them out of Japan.
Premier Giichi Tanaka's plan is exposed by Nick Condon (James Cagney), and Japanese officials ask for his sources. Nick says it was printed in New York and tells the newspaper owner Bickett (Porter Hall) he wrote the article. Tipsy Ollie Miller (Wallace Ford) has boat tickets and pays back Nick $220. Nick tries to find out where he got the money and goes to his wife Edith Miller (Rosemary DeCamp). At the boat Nick finds Edith dead and tries to chase a woman. Nick calls Charley Sprague (James Bell) and learns that Ollie wants to see him. Ollie staggers and breaks Nick's windows, and Nick carries him to a bed. Ollie gives Nick the plans and dies. Nick hides the plans before the police come in and search. Nick tries to resist being taken in and complains to Yamada (Marvin Miller), who reads the charges but lets him go. A story was printed that Nick was carousing with women, but Nick accuses the police of the two murders.
Nick and Charley discover the plans are gone. Nick is invited to the house of Giichi Tanaka (John Emery). Prince Tatsugi (Frank Puglia) opposes the militarism of Tanaka. Nick arrives and meets Tanaka and Col. Tojo (Robert Armstrong). Tanaka tells Nick to give back the plans and says that Miller and his wife are well on the ship. Nick says the murderers must be charged. He tells Charley that the embassy is sending him to Washington and to write a story on it.
Joseph Cassell (Rhys Williams) and Iris Hilliard (Sylvia Sidney) sit down with Nick. Iris was sent by Nick's friend in China. Iris reports to Tanaka and Tojo. Bickett tells Nick he is hiring Cassell, but Nick says he embezzled in China. Nick dines with Iris, who says she is studying Japanese women. They go to her place, and he kisses her. Nick's article exposes Cassell, who accuses Nick of treason. Nick knocks out Cassell and goes to Iris, accusing her of killing Edith Miller. Nick says he won't sell the Tanaka plan, but Iris has it and shows it to him.
Tanaka questions Iris and gives her jewels, demanding to know the other traitor with her. Tanaka has her imprisoned in her room and orders her killed slowly. Tojo and Hijikata promise to take over America, and Tanaka commits hara-kiri. Tojo calls Cassell and gives him the story. Nick and Charley go to Iris, but she is gone.
Nick is packed to go and gets a note from Iris. An embassy official offers to help him escape before he is charged. Nick goes to meet Iris, and Prince Tatsugi signs the document he gives to Nick. Iris has a boat for Nick. Captain Oshima (John Halloran) shoots Tatsugi. Nick tells Iris to take the plan while he fights Tatsugi; Nick finally knocks him in the water. Nick flees the police but is shot in the street by the embassy. However, Yamada lets the American official take Nick.
Although this drama warning about Japanese imperialism
is after the fact in that case, it still suggests that courageous
reporting can help people be aware of dangerous plans by militarists.